Taekwondo body rues Sportsman of the Year 'dis'

Published: Thursday | December 19, 2013 Comments 0

Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer

JAMAICA's martial arts community, led by the Jamaica Taekwondo Association, is fighting mad that neither of its two submissions for the national Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards made the list of nominees presented by the selection committee at a press launch last Thursday.

The Jamaica Taekwondo Associa-tion had submitted International Sport Kickboxing Association (ISKA) gold medallist Nicholas Dusard and silver medallist Danielle Chang as nominees for the nation's top male and female sports honours.

Dusard won gold and Chang silver at the 2013 ISKA World Champion-ships in Kyrenia, North Cyprus, early November.

Denise Romero, first vice-president of the Jamaica Taekwondo Association, said the organisation submitted both fighters' names to the RJR Sports Foundation from mid-November.

"We sent in nominations, on November 15, for Nicholas Dusard and Danielle Chang. We got confirmation that they were received, yet not even Nicholas, who won a gold medal at a World Championship, was named as a nominee for Sportsman of the Year," Romero lamented, adding that Olympian Kenneth Edwards was equally snubbed in 2011.

The foundation named three medal-laden track and field Olympians, Usain Bolt, Warren Weir, Nesta Carter; as well as World Boxing Association featherweight champion Nicholas Walters, as nominees for Sportsman of the Year.

Mike Fennell, chairman of the selection committee and president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, referred The Gleaner to the foundation's criteria and questioned the Jamaica Taekwondo Association's credentials when quizzed about Dusard's non-inclusion.

"I invite her (Romero) to examine the criteria for selection. She is from the Jamaica Taekwondo Association. I don't know about that body. It is not a recognised body. I don't know who they are affiliated to.

"The Jamaica Taekwondo Federation is the official federation for taekwondo in Jamaica. They are the body affiliated to the World Taekwondo Federation, which is recognised internationally and by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)," he added.

However, Walters' nomination, in light of Dusard also holding an internationally recognised world title, is being questioned by the Jamaica Taekwondo Association, which is affiliated to the International Taekwondo Federation, headquartered in Benidorm, Spain, and whose fighters compete in international tournaments and World Championships cut across many bodies, including the IOC-aligned WTF and ISKA.

The ISKA serves as the world's most well-recognised sanctioning and regulatory body for combat sports and competitive martial arts, recognising both worthy champions and world-rated contenders in more than 20 different types of martial arts and combat sports in more than 60 countries.

Jason McKay, captain of Jamaica's combined martial arts team, called for government intervention and a shake-up of the selection committee.

"I am really fed up with the constant disrespect of this foundation, in respect of the accomplishments of our athletes," he said.

"It is confusing to me, the athletes and the sporting world at large, that an athlete can win an ISKA world title and not qualify for at least a nomination for Sportsman of the Year.

"I believe it is time the Ministry of Sports step in and do something about this," McKay added.

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